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The Inclusive Vision

Essays in Honor of Larry Gross


Edited By Paul Messaris and David W. Park

Larry Gross is one of the most influential figures in the history of media studies. In this collection of original essays, his former students reflect on his groundbreaking contributions to three major developments: the emergence of visual studies as a distinct field of media theory and research; the analysis of media fiction as a symbol of power structures and a perpetuator of social inequalities; and the growing scholarly attention to the relationships between mass media and sexual minorities.

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17. Leading and Enabling Research for Social Change (Traci Gillig)


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17. Leading and Enabling Research for Social Change


“I take it you’re doing this because you enjoy it,” Larry said with a smile as we discussed my dissertation project. He was 100 percent correct. I truly have enjoyed building a research program and now, diving into the dissertation. Not that the past few years have been challenge-free, but I’ve felt honored to be able to do the type of work my dissertation involves. Conducting research in close partnership with a pioneering nonprofit organization focused on improving the lives of LGBTQ youth is a rare opportunity. Not only that, but having the chance to do so under the guidance of Larry Gross is even rarer, as there is only one Larry Gross. Here, I reflect on my journey to becoming Larry’s advisee, discuss my research and Larry’s influence on it, and look ahead to striving to carry on Larry’s legacy after I graduate.

To start at the very beginning, I was born and raised in a small suburb of Chicago, IL. My parents were supportive of me in countless ways while I was growing up. They made sure I had a strong education. They helped me pursue the extracurricular activities I enjoyed. They enabled me to see the world at a young age. They taught me to value hard work and kindness. They also let young me run free with a gender nonconforming fashion sense, wearing...

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